Sunday, March 28, 2010

Authentic Assessments

The conflict between multiple choice tests and other traditional forms of assessment and what has popularly been name authentic assessments, also called performance assessment or alternative assessment, continues among faculty at all levels of education. As you decide for yourselves which is the most appropriate method for your class and students, first consider your objectives not only for the course but as an educator in general.

Are you trying to make students productive citizens? Is your goal for students to walk away with certain knowledge? Do you want students to be able to perform certain tasks? Is your purpose to help students be successful in the real world?

Some arguments for Authentic Assessments are:1. Provide a fair testing environment of diverse students
2. Identifies strengths and weakness of a student
3. Students create their responses rather than selected from a standard set
4. Elicits higher level thinking skills
5. Allows for student self-evaluation
6. Relates easily to a classroom environment and experience
7. Applies to “real” world contexts
8. Must have clear rubrics to ensure equitable grading
9. Often includes writing
10. Subject areas are often blended
11. Can be collaborative
Some arguments for Traditional Assessments are:1. Less time intensive
2. Able to standardize and compare student performance
3. Answers are either right or wrong
4. Not ambiguously designed so students have a clear understanding of expectations
5. Tests individual knowledge
6. Very practical to deliver

As the battle wages among educators and within our selves, here are a couple of articles to visit so that you may decide for yourselves and your students which method best evaluates student knowledge and skills to prepare them to be successful members of society.

Authentic Assessment Toolbox by Jon Meuller
Teacher Vision
Assessment Terminology
Tons of great ideas and resources at the University of Wisconsin website
Comparison Article
Qualities of a Good Assessment

Qualities of a Good Online Assessment

Now I must admit, I tend to fall in the authentic assessment group which many of my students seem to appreciate and tell me they learn much more by preparing for these diverse assignments rather than memorizing for a test. Examples from my history classes have been shared in previous blog posts. However, I do find myself still debating internally. Which testing method best evaluates my students? Which method do you prefer and why?

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